Aggie Soccer to Square Off Against Second-Ranked BYU Friday in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament
Nov. 7, 2012
LOGAN, Utah - KICKING OFF - Utah State (13-2-6) is heading to its second-straight NCAA Tournament after earning the Western Athletic Conference's automatic bid. USU will make the short trip to Provo, Utah to face BYU which is ranked No. 2 nationally this week. The Aggies have won eight-straight matches. USU has an 11-match unbeaten streak with their last loss coming against BYU on Sept. 20.
NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY - This is the Aggies' second-straight NCAA Tournament. Last season, USU made the long trek to Alabama to face Auburn in the first round. The Aggies fell to the Tigers, 2-1, with Kendra Pemberton, earning the only USU goal. Utah State is 0-1 in the NCAA Tournament.
USU is one of two WAC teams to advance to the NCAA Tournament. Denver earned an at-large bid and will host Colorado College.
SERIES HISTORY vs. No. 1 seeded BYU (18-1-1, 7-0-1 WCC) - The Aggies and the Cougars played earlier this season in Logan on Sept. 20 with BYU taking the close, 1-0, win. In the 10th minute, Dana Oldroyd Cusick scored the only goal of the match. This is the second-straight season that the Aggies lost 1-0 to the Cougars.
BYU leads the overall series, 10-0-0. The Cougars finished the regular season 18-1-1, on a 17-game unbeaten streak to earn the West Coast Conference Championship title and automatic big to the 2012 postseason. BYU is one of four No. 1 seeds along with Florida State, Stanford and Penn State.
The potent Cougar offense is led by Michelle Murphy who has eight goals and seven assists for 23 points this season. Erica Owens has been stellar in net for BYU, playing the majority of the minutes. Owens has allowed 10 goals in 20 matches for a 0.50 GAA. BYU is 9-10-4 in the NCAA Tournament.
FLYNN LEADS THE PACK - Junior midfielder Jennifer Flynn leads the team offensively this season. Flynn scored the late game-winner against Seattle on Nov. 2 to send Utah State to the WAC Tournament finals. She has seven goals and two assists for 16 points this season. She is one of three Aggies to be in double figures in scoring this season along with junior forward Mari Miyashiro (14) and sophomore forward Jade Tarver (14). Flynn leads the team with three game-winning goals as well.
DID YOU KNOW??? - After a slow start, the Aggies have now scored 32 goals this season. That mark places the 2012 team tied for fifth all-time in Utah State history. The 2007 team holds the record with 40 goals scored.
MORE HONORS FOR NORRIS - Utah State soccer senior defender Natalie Norris was named to the 2012 Capital One Academic all-District ® VIII Women's Soccer first team, selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America.
Norris continues to win awards this week as she was named Western Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year for the third-straight season on Wednesday. She also earned first-team all-WAC honors.
The Sandy, Utah native was the first Utah State soccer player to earn CoSIDA honors when she was honored last year. The senior has a 3.95 with a double major in nutrition, dietetics & food science and exercise science. She has earned academic all-WAC honors the last three seasons.
The Pioneers stopped third-seeded Texas State, 2-0, in Friday's other semifinal.
STREAKING AT THE RIGHT TIME - The Aggies have now won eight-straight matches and have an unbeaten streak of 10 matches. Utah State has not lost since a 1-0 loss to No. 4 BYU, 1-0, in Logan, on Sept. 20.
The Cougars have an impressive streak of their own with a 17-match unbeaten streak. The Cougars have won five-straight matches. BYU has not lost since the third match of the season to Utah, 1-0, on Aug. 25. The Aggies defeated Utah at Rio Tinto Stadium to open the season 1-0. USU stopped Denver's amazing 19-match unbeaten streak last week in the WAC Tournament final.
HOW DID THEY FARE - Besides Utah, the Aggies and the Cougars played two of the same opponents. BYU beat Washington, 3-1, while Utah State tied the Huskies,1-1, in double overtime. Both squads also beat Utah Valley with the Cougars earning a 1-0 win and USU needing overtime to beat the Wolverines, 2-1.
WINNING THE WAC - Top-seeded Utah State soccer repeated as Western Athletic Conference Tournament Champions with a hard-fought 1-0 win over second-seed and 19th-ranked Denver Sunday afternoon to successfully defend its home field at a loud and raucous Chuck and Gloria Bell Soccer Field. USU becomes the first back-to-back WAC champion since SMU won in 2004. The Aggies have won both of their WAC titles with 1-0 wins in the final match.
USU In the WAC Tournament 2005: L, Fresno State (First Round), 1-2 2006: L, Nevada (First Round) 2007: W, San Jose State (First Round), 4-0; L, Hawai`i (2OT-Semifinals), 0-1 2008: W, Boise State (Semifinals), 1-0; L, Fresno State (2OT- Finals), 1-2 2009: L, Boise State (Semifinals), 0-1 2010: L, Fresno State (Semifinals), 0-1 2011: W, Idaho (Semifinals), 1-0; W, Fresno State (Finals), 1-0 2012: W, Seattle (Semifinals), 2-1; vs. Denver (Finals), 1-0USU IN THE NCAA STATISTICS - Senior goalkeeper Ashlyn Mulford is up to fourth this week in the nation this week in save percentage (.895) in this week's NCAA statistics. Mercer's Maggie Croop is first with a .923 save percentage. Mulford is also eighth in goals against average with a 0.46 GAA. As a team, USU is still second in the country in save percentage (.894). USU is also third in the nation in goals against average (0.49), once again behind Baylor (0.47).
ON THE VERGE OF A RECORD - Senior goalkeeper Ashlyn Mulford is nearing a record. Heading into the NCAA Tournament, Mulford sports a miniscule 0.50 goals against average. Last season, Molli Merrill set the school record with a 0.59 GAA. If the Aggies end the season with a GAA of under 1.00, it will the third-straight season that they have had a GAA of under 1.00 with Merrill and the Aggies earning a 0.94 GAA in 2010.
AGGIES WAC CHAMPS AGAIN - Utah State shared the WAC title with Denver, who earned a piece of the title with a 2-0 road win over Seattle. Both the Aggies and the Pioneers ended league play with 20 points. This is the second time that Utah State has shared the title after earning co-champion honors in 2010 along with San Jose State. The three-straight WAC titles is the most since consecutive titles since SMU won every regular-season title from 2000-04.
With the win against Louisiana Tech on Oct. 28, the Aggies improve to 11-2-6 overall and 6-0-2 in WAC action. This is the second time since USU joined the WAC that the Aggies have gone unbeaten in league matches with USU earning a perfect 7-0-0 record in 2007. This senior class now has a career record of 47-23-14.
FIRST TIMERS - Six different Aggies earned their Utah State point during the Aggies seven-match winning streak. Sophomore Lauren Roundy scored her first goal against Texas State and added her first career assist against UTSA on Oct. 5. Sophomore Brooke Larsen had her first help in the win against the Roadrunners. In the victory over the Bobcats, three players earned their first assist in freshmen Maris Hamblin and Sara Lorscheider. Sophomore Ambryn McCallson also had her first assist. In the win against Seattle on Oct. 12 McCallson and junior defender Jackie Tillotson both found the back of the net for their first Aggie goals.
CAIRNS REACHES MILESTONE - With a win against San Jose State last week, head coach Heather Cairns reached a career milestone with her 100th career win. She holds a 103-77-25 for a .563 winning percentage. She is the second USU coach to reach that mark this season as USU head coach Grayson DuBose earned his 100th win against Seattle on Sept. 20.
STUNNING SHUTOUTS - For the first time since joining the WAC in 2005 that Utah State started conference play with four-straight shutouts. Last season, the Aggies had six-straight shutouts for in WAC play and two in the WAC Tournament to end the regular season.
BY THE NUMBERS - This season, Utah State holds and impressive 11-0-1 record when scoring first. The Aggies are also an impressive 8-1-5 when having more corner kicks than there foes. For the season, USU has 110 corner kicks compared to only 73 by its opponents.
LOGGING IN THE MINUTES - There are two Aggies who have played every minute of the 2012 season, defenders Natalie Norris and Taryn Rose. They are two of four Utah State players to have played and started all 21 matches along with defender Jessica Hoskin and forward Mari Miyashiro. Norris and Rose have played all 2026 minutes this season, while roaming the Aggie backfield. Hoskin has seen time in 1722 minutes this season. Nine different players have played in all 19 matches for Utah State this season.
LAST TIME OUT - Top-seeded Utah State soccer repeated as Western Athletic Conference Tournament Champions with a hard-fought 1-0 win over second-seed and 19th-ranked Denver Sunday.
The Aggies also completed the WAC sweep with winning the regular-season and tournament title and will advance to the NCAA Tournament for the second-straight year and its second in school history. The 64-team bracket will be announced Monday afternoon.
The lone goal of Sunday's match came on an own goal in fourth minute, as junior midfielder Kendra Pemberton passed the ball across that inadvertently deflected off of DU defender Cassidy Larson and went past Denver goalkeeper Lara Campbell and into the net.
All-Tournament Team Lynsey Curry, Texas State Emma Staley, Texas State Stephanie Verdoia, Seattle U Melissa Busque, Seattle U Kalie Vaughn, Denver Jessy Battelli, Denver Kaitlin Bast, Denver Jennifer Flynn, Utah State Jackie Tillotson, Utah State Ashlyn Mulford, Utah State Taryn Rose, Utah State MVP: Natalie Norris, Utah StateSHINING ON SUNDAY - Utah State is now 7-0-3 when playing on Sunday. The only days of the week that the Aggies have lost a match are on Thursday and Friday. Sunday remains USU's most successful day of the week with no losses in eight matches.
LAST HOME LOSS - The Aggies had their 14-game home unbeaten streak come to an end with a 1-0 loss to Northern Colorado on Aug. 31. USU's last loss at Chuck and Gloria Bell Soccer Field was on Sept. 25, 2010 against BYU. In that match, the Aggies fell to the Cougars, 3-0. Last season, USU was 9-0-1 at the friendly confines of Bell Field.
NEW AND IMPROVED - Fans coming to Chuck and Gloria Bells Soccer Field will find some improvements this season. Permanent bleachers have been added to the west side of Bell Field, giving the field a capacity of near 1,000. The press box will remain on the west side. The team benches will now be on the east side of the field which is a change from previous seasons. Chuck and Gloria Bell Soccer Field was originally built in 2002. The field also has new wind screens and banners, acknowledging Utah State's WAC Tournament and WAC regular-season titles. There is also a banner recognizing the Aggies first NCAA appearance in 2011.
GAMETRACKER - Fans can follow all the Aggie home matches through the USU web site at www.UtahStateAggies.com via GameTracker, a free service, which updates play-by-play and statistics throughout the game.
HEAD COACH Heather Cairns - In her 10th season at Utah State is Heather Cairns, who became the winningest coach in school history after recording her 27th career victory on Sept. 30, 2006, defeating Eastern Washington 1-0. In her eight seasons at the helm of the Aggies, Cairns has compiled a 103-77-25 (.563) record passing former head coach Stacy Enos (1996-2000) who went 26-59 (.306) in five seasons with the Aggies.
Heather Cairns has a 42-9-8 (.780) record in WAC matches, giving her the highest winning percentage among the nine league coaches in conference matches.
AGGIES PICKED TO FINISH SECOND IN THE WAC - Heading in to its final season in the Western Athletic Conference, the Utah State soccer team was picked second in the WAC preseason poll, selected by the conference's nine coaches and announced by the league office Tuesday. WAC newcomer Denver was picked atop the poll with six first-place votes for 62 points. The Aggies were second with the remaining three first-place votes for 59 total points. Utah State has won three of the last four WAC regular-season titles, including winning a share of the 2010 title.
Fellow league newcomer, Seattle, was picked third with 47 points, followed by San Jose State in fourth with 38. Idaho was voted fifth with 32 points just ahead of newcomers UTSA and Texas State, who were tied for sixth with 27 points apiece. Rounding out the poll is New Mexico State in eighth place with 19 points and Louisiana Tech in ninth with 13.
Utah State placed two players on the preseason all-WAC team with junior midfielder Kendra Pemberton joining Norris earning honors. Both Norris and Pemberton earned first-team all-WAC honors last season. Norris was part of the Utah State defense that allowed only three goals in WAC play last season. Her 64 career matches started are the most by any player in the WAC this season. Pemberton was second on the team in scoring by netting seven goals along with school-record nine assists for 23 points.
2012 Preseason All-WAC Team Chelsea Small, Jr., F, Idaho Kelsey Lord, Jr., F, San Jose State Kayla Santacruz, So., F, San Jose State Shantel Flanary, Sr., F, Utah State Jill Flockhart, Jr., MF, Idaho Lauren Sanchez, Sr., MF, San Jose State Chandra Salmon-Christensen, Sr., MF, Utah State Kendall VanDine, Sr., D, Fresno State Jessica Ingram, Sr., D, San Jose State Natalie Norris, Jr., D, Utah State Liz Boyden, Sr., GK, Idaho